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Since I dreamt last night that I was auditioning for "American Idol," I think I'm clearly liking the new season's upbeat energy and chemistry between Steven Tyler, Jenner Lopez and Randy Jackson.
(The judges sent me to Hollywood, by the way. So much for the "reality" in reality TV ...)
Per my goal of hoping to identify the eventual 2011 "American Idol" champion by the end of the audition phase, here are my candidates from the series' second week back:
(Tuesday) Scott McCreery; endearingly raspy Emma Henry; Naima Adedapo; bar mitzvah singer Jerome Bell; Tiwan Strong; and, Alyson Jados, whose take on "Come Together" evoked shades of Crystal Bowersox.
(Wednesday) Rob Bolin; Stormi Henley; Jackie Wilson; Paul McDonald; Jimmie Allen; and, Lauren Alaina, who, between her prominent placement at the end of last night's episode and her impressive impromptu duet with Tyler on Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing," appears an early favorite above all others. ("You're gonna make 40 million people cry. Tears of joy, baby!" said Tyler).
Follow Billboard.com's complete coverage of the 10th season of "American Idol" here and, as always, please feel free to share your opinions in the comments section below or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.